Lightning bolt splits 20-foot tree

Lightning strikes 20-foot tree, splitting it apart along the 5700 block of Montoya Drive Monday, May 21, 2018. (Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)

An Upper Valley resident was shocked after hearing a loud boom and feeling a tremble early Monday evening.

Norma Rios, who lives in the 5700 block of Montoya Drive near Oleaster Drive, arrived home before 6 p.m., when lightning struck a 20-foot tree in the front of her house.

The base of the tree is charred.

Rios said she had been parking her car in the garage when she felt a rumble and heard the boom.

When she turned around, she saw the tree falling over her fence and into her yard.

El Paso fire crews at the scene told Rios the damage was from a lightning strike.

In addition to falling onto Rios' yard, parts of the tree fell onto Montoya Drive, blocking both lanes to drivers.

Drivers approaching the scene drove around the damage.

Rios' said she's lucky she wasn't injured and the strike just hit the tree.

Fire crews shut off gas to her home as a precaution.

A lightning storm was recorded around 6:20 p.m. on KFOX14's interactive radar, 5 miles away from where Rios lives.

Chief meteorologist Sandra Diaz warns than lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from a storm.

"This is a perfect example because the bulk of the lightning was 5 miles away and it still damaged the woman's property," Diaz said.

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